Situated on the South Devon coast between Newton Abbot and Torquay, Deane Farm is a mixture of arable cropping and permanent pasture with a varied range of livestock enterprises. Crops include cereals, beans, fodder beet, peas, oilseed rape and maize with lucerne and herbal leys. Produce is either sold locally or used to feed our own animals. We keep a flock of breeding ewes, beef cattle, pigs and laying hens. As a mixed farm we are able to integrate our enterprises and are very proud to be feeding our livestock at over 95% self-sufficiency, which we hope to build on even further in the future. Using progressively regenerative management practices helps us work towards our goals of supporting biodiversity, soil health and crop resilience whilst engaging with our surrounding community.
Meet the team
A family farm, Deane Farm is led by Peter French with his wife Claire and children Katie and Thomas. His father David and mother Pauline live just down the road and still play an active role in the business.
Out on the farm, we have a great team. John is the main tractor driver taking care of the crops from planting to harvest while Andrew the stockman looks after the daily requirements of the cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry plus Graeme is busy with both livestock and tractor work. During busy periods, everyone pitches in across the farm to make sure we get the job done in time.
With building environmental pressures, the farm is moving towards an increasingly regenerative approach. We are focusing on supporting our natural resources through adopting new cropping methods and increasing incorporation of livestock such as pasture reared pigs, cattle and sheep. This is enabling us to working toward our aims boosting protection of farmland biodiversity, water quality, soil health and air quality.
Habitat creation is especially important to us at Deane Farm. Belonging to DEFRA’s higher level stewardship scheme means we have adapted our farming practices to be involved in a range of wildlife supporting measures and have been excited to work with the RSPB to significantly boost breeding pair numbers of rare species such as the cirl bunting. We work with specialist agri-consultants to discuss new initiatives that could be a good fit for the natural resources of Deane Farm going forward.
Deane Farm strives to be at the leading edge of efficient food production by utilising the latest technology. With internet communications speeding up decision making, environmental and economic benefits are also achieved by use of GPS driven tractors and careful crop monitoring to ensure only the required essential nutrients are applied. Electronic livestock tags enable us to use mobile devices to instantly recall the history of any animal to make the appropriate management decisions that maximise business efficiency and high welfare.
The French family arrived in Stokeinteignhead in 1874 as mixed farming tenants of the Kekewich estate. After World War I, the landlord divided the estate to pay death duties and in 1920, the French’s were able to buy land in the centre of the village and much of the Deane Valley. The farming operation has extended along the River Teign but essentially remains based around the original homestead.
As the farming industry evolves, our history in the village of Stokeinteignhead has also seen much change. With continuous development in agricultural technology and practices, like previous generations, we are ever conscious of the long term effects of every farming decision. The community, our customer base, the environment and this wonderful corner of the Devon countryside are at the heart of everything we do. Every day we strive to achieve our goal of caring for the land while investing in the necessary equipment to move the business forward so Deane Farm can continue to produce high quality sustainable food now and for future generations.